Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bruce Cockburn: Songs & Stories at FTC

Bruce Cockburn, a highly-regarded Canadian folk rocker & singer-songwriter, has been making great music since his first album was released in 1970. He’s well known for his emotional lyrics, covering subject matter from the spiritual & emotional to the political. His songs have been covered by a diverse group of artists including Barenaked Ladies, Judy Collins, Jimmy Buffett and Ani DiFranco, and his fans include Jackson Browne & Emmylou Harris. Thursday night he made a stop in CT at The Fairfield Theatre Company on his Solo Acoustic tour. It was a magnetic, emotional performance of songs such as Last Night of The World, Child of The Wind, and Lovers in a Dangerous Time.

Cockburn also featured a sampling of tunes from his latest album Small Source of Comfort, including “Call Me Rose,” about Richard Nixon reincarnated as a girl in the projects. He has a loyal, passionate legion of fans. There was a spirited audience sing along on “Wondering Where the Lions Are,” his only US top 40 hit. Cockburn is also a great guitarist; he performed some excellent instrumental pieces during the show.

He told some stories about the origins of the songs performed during the evening. Cockburn is well known for his political & humanitarian activism. Bruce was visiting Afghanistan when the bodies of two Canadian servicemen killed in action were sent home. The artist was present when the plane returning their bodies took off, and said it was a very moving experience, so he was inspired to write the touching, elegiac “Each One Lost.”

Even if you don’t know much about the man & his music, if you appreciate excellent lyrics, emotional performances and some fantastic guitar work, I suggest you head out to see Bruce on this tour, and check out some of his music on CD. The collection Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere: Singles 1979-2002, is a great starting point, as is the aforementioned, excellent new album, Small Source of Comfort.

An additional note: The wonderful thing about seeing artists perform at these smaller performance spaces is that you're often given the opportunity to meet them after the concert, which doesn't generally happen at the larger venues. Bruce very kindly took time out to meet fans & sign CDs after the show. He was a friendly guy, and very appreciative of his fans. A nice way to end a wonderful evening of music.

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